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Publisher's Summary

Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of 30 years of Afghanistan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss, and by fate. As they endure the ever-escalating dangers around them, in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul, they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love.

©2007 TKR Publications, LLC. All rights reserved; (P)2007 Simon and Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"Another searing epic....[Hosseini's] tale is a powerful, harrowing depiction of Afghanistan, but also a lyrical evocation of the lives and enduring hopes of its resilient characters." (Publishers Weekly)
"Unimaginably tragic, Hosseini's magnificent second novel is a sad and beautiful testament to both Afghani suffering and strength. Readers who lost themselves in The Kite Runner will not want to miss this unforgettable follow up." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

Heartwrenching and Emotional

While the Kite Runner was about fathers and sons, this book focuses mainly on women and their relationships, while also giving the listener a glimpse of daily life in Afghanistan before and after the Taliban. Once I started listening, I couldn't stop. It is very emotional, but gripping and exciting, too. Don't miss this deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith....and love.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Dave
  • Springwood, NSW, Australia
  • 10-03-08

Splendid Indeed

For a man from beautiful mountains near beautiful Sydney Australia, this book is so far removed from my experience that I thought this fact alone would serve as a barrier to my enjoyment of this book. Blessed am I to live where I live and have the history I have.
But such is the power of this author and narrator, to pick me up, swirl me, and drop me into this sprawling, gorgeous epic. This book, narrated beautifully, took me from laughter, to tears, to sick in the stomach. The characters are so alive, so pressed into reality, that it felt like I was there beside them.
Never has an audiobook had me inventing reasons to drive, just so I could continue listening to it. Part romance, part history and part epic, I can not recommend this highly enough. I now cannot wait to buy and listen to The Kite Runner.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • JOHN
  • Plantation, FL, United States
  • 11-25-07

Very sad and tragic

Make no mistake, Khaled Hosseini is a very talented author, as his tremendous success with The Kite Runner and A Thousand Spledid Suns will attest.

For me, I enjoyed The Kite Runner a little bit more. This is strictly a personal opinion based on the extreme amount of suffering and pathos in this, Hosseini's second novel.

Even writing the review is difficult for me, as I don't wish to criticize the writer's talent. It isn't that at all. Rather, the subject matter of extreme abuse of women is in itself difficult to digest, and I could not find any pleasure whatsoever in this story.

Very well written, to be sure. Emotionally provocative, without a doubt. The story will resurrect many memories of the news stories we all saw regarding the Taliban after 9-11. Only this is a lot more personal, as the reader gets to intimately identify with the oppressed.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Robert
  • Yamhill, OR, United States
  • 10-02-12

The more things change, the more they remain...

Yesterday, October 1, 2012, in Afghanistan, a women was executed, killed, murdered, call it what you will, for allegedly committing adultery. Her male partner was unpunished. In the same newscast that reported this execution, the beautiful, young, orphaned faces of a first in that country girl soccer team were shown celebrating their freedom to... to... just be girls and play soccer. Such is a taste of life and death in Afghanistan. Such is a taste of A Thousand Splendid Suns.

The book is simply and beautifully written. If you liked the Kite Runner, you will probably appreciate this book also.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

The incredible story of women hardship

"A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini is a book that easily can be your favorite book of life. It certainly is for me.

The first thought to reveal about the book is that it makes the fantasy and fiction - the unified reality of such enormous realness, that it is hard to believe, during the rearding of the book, that you read another fiction novel.

The book describes the lives of two women in Afganistan in the critical part of its history, between early 1960-ties to early 2003. The destiny and history of the two women is intertwined with the troubled history of the beautiful country. The history that is mosty tragic and miserable, particularly during Taliban reign. However, even if history plays an important role - the book is about human condition - about the difficult and impossible love and friendship, about the greatness of human spirit over the world full of hatred and evil.

In many ways, the most important message we read in this book is that formulated by Victor Frankl: "Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." I haven’t seen more powerful scene that illustrates this truth than the scene of the death by public execution of one of the book heroes at the hand of vindictive Talibans...

The book reiterates the fundamental truth - the basic human feelings and behaviors, those of the glorious and of the deplorable significance - are independent of the culture, religion, political system etc. We see there both admiration of traditional humble Islamic values and reproof of their perversion in the culture of Taliban, Mujahideen and similar (like Hamas or Hezbollah) culture of killing and murder. After reading it, you will have more moderate view on the Western-Islam conflict...

Last but not least - the book is also about love. I would say - it is all about love...

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A compelling listen!

This book came highly recommended to me, and having enjoyed Khaled Hosseini's other novel 'The Kite Runner', I thought I would give it a try. What a listen! Well narrated, good pace, and a compelling story about the life of two women in Afghanistan under both the Soviets and the Taliban. The tragedy and strength of everyday life during difficult times is lyrically portrayed. For me, a 5 star Audible book is one where, after my 1-hour commute home from work, I don't want to get out of the car right away as the story is so engrossing. This is one of those books.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lucie
  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 12-27-07

Eye Opening and Devastating

This is a heart-breaking book; one of those books you will never forget. Not all of it is sad - there are moments of happiness. It made me take a second look at the newspaper article story this morning about Afganastan.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kamran
  • Minneapolis, MN, USA
  • 12-26-07

Excellent read

This was a very enjoyable audiobook, I loved every minute of it. The author made you feel close to the characters, caring about their lives and sympathizing with their plight. The emotions that are conveyed feel as if you are experiencing them.

A must buy.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Stewart
  • Port ElizabethSouth Africa
  • 11-19-07

Heart wrenching

Seems like a womens' book [gendre intended only]. But hugely informative of the Afgani tradgedy told through the eyes of two women. This reveals the terrible evil of a patriachal society that defends bullies and bigots. The account will remain with me for a lifetime. Well told. But be warned, this account will test the mettle of your emotions, and you will not come away feeling good about radical Islam. I'm ordering the Kite Flyer.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Roland
  • Round Rock, TX, USA
  • 10-27-07

Beautiful Story

This book was beautifully written and gave the reader a powerful look into a world that we as Americans do not often get to view. The connection between the characters was intertwined throughout the entire story and wonderfully told. I truely enjoyed this book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • beverley spencer
  • 06-16-10


what a fab book and beautifully read.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jennifer
  • 09-10-09


I loved The Kite Runner, but this novel is, surprisingly, even better. Hosseini is a gifted author and I found myself listening intently to every word. Beautifully read and highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • William
  • 07-24-09

Loved this Book

This is a fantastic book loved the readers voice made the book even better.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • KM
  • 04-07-09

Loved this book

I really loved this book, as I did the kite runner, it gives an bit of insight into the plight of some of the people in Afghanistan and is beautifully written.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Judith
  • 03-14-09

For love of Afghanistan

I never thought those words could go together, 'love' and 'Afghanistan'. My sketchy knowledge from newspapers and images from television led me to want to look the other way, to know no more about a cruel, harsh environment that could only breed violence. The Kite Runner gave me some knowledge, a little more empathy; A Thousand Splendid Suns has drawn me in, as if Afghanistan is in some small way part of my own emotional life. I've hoped and despaired, feared and rejoiced, sometimes all at the same time, with Hosseini's Afghan women, and shared in their love for one another and for the children.
The continuing tragedy of Afghanistan has acquired another dimension for me, I can't look away.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Katy
  • 02-23-09

Wonderful Story, Dull Narration

The story was wonderful, very poetic and thoroughly enjoyable. However, I really didn't like the narration. She was really dull, characterless and monotonous and because I am British, the American accent was too annoying for me and difficult to follow.
Never the less, I would still recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Steve
  • 01-31-09

Over-rated and poorly read

I think this book is very over-rated. It certainly makes you very, very aware, painfully aware of the horrors of life in Afghanistan, for women particularly, but so much of the novel dwells on the trivia of day to day exitance. It reads like an airport novel for much of its length.
Everything is dictated by events and chracter analysis is minimal. We do not explore the characters in any depth, but see only the events which happen to them.
The final quarter of the book is very moving however.
My wife tells me I'm wrong - so was I perhaps turned off by the flat, characterless reading of Atossa Leoni with her stange hesitancies which broke up phrases and destroyed sense. Such an amateur reading style.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mohammed
  • 05-21-08


An excellent example of life of most women in Afghanistan, was hooked on this from beginning till the end.
The author has shown amazing insight into life, love, betrayal and personal sacrifice of the everyday Afghan in this book.

Well done.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Hayley J.
  • 10-07-07

A Thousand Splendid Suns, a Must Read

This is perhaps one of the most profound works of contemporary fiction I have come across. On a par with Snowflower and the Secret Fan, and Half of a Yellow Sun, the story of two women in war torn Afghanistan is both beautiful and tragic. The book also gives a great insight in to the lives of Muslim women and how the Taliban's rule affected the lives of ordinary people.It made me realise what our soldiers are fighting for still today in Afghanistan. Although the narrator sometimes reads without feeling, her pronounciation and delicate tone brings the characters to life. I would urge you to read the unabridged version, as the extended detail is what gives Hoseini's writing it's beauty. A prize winner for sure!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Zoe
  • 09-30-07


This hooked me in and had me boiling with rage and tearful in equal amounts - loved it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful